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Top Ancient Cities in China


Numerous historical and cultural cities were built in China during the thousands of years of history. After thousands of years of natural disasters, there are only a few cities that can be kept their ancient sight-seeing intact. These ancient cities are still well preserved, and they are worthwhile for people to visit.

No. 1: Fenghuang Ancient City in Hunan

FenghuangFenghuang, a famous city of historical and cultural significance, a small, picturesque, mountain surrounded, and with unique culture city.  To Jishou 53Km, Huaihua 92KM, Zhangjiajie 280KM. Fenghuang county, covers an area of 1783 sq KM, with population of 367000, with many ethnics such as  Miao, Tujia, Han, Hui people etc. It boasts a wealth of cultural accumulation of Hubei and Wushan areas due to its location between the 2 different cultural areas of southwest China's ethnic minorities and east China's Chu and Han groups. Phoenix town is a place with many places of historical interest as well as beautiful sceneries and has been a tourist destination for many years. Ancient towers, old compounds built during Ming and Qing dynasties and stone-paved paths still fascinate many visitors. 


No. 2: Lijiang Ancient City in Yunnan Province

Lijiang City1.jpgLijiang Ancient Town is a well-preserved old city of ethnic minorities with brilliant culture.Lijiang Ancient Town is a central town of the Lijiang Autonomous County of the Naxi Ethnic Minority in Yunnan Province. Located on the plateau which is 2,400 meters above the sea level and embraced by the tree-covered Lion Mountain in the west, Elephant and Golden Row Mountains in the north, vast fertile fields in the southeast and crystal clear water running through, the old town looks like a big jade ink slab, therefore got the alias the Town of Big Ink Slab (Dayanzhen).Till now, when walking on the streets of the Old Town, one can feel the prosperity and flourish from the shops with fancy and superb collections of handicrafts.


No. 3: Pingyao Ancient City in Shanxi Province

pingyao1.jpgThe Ancient City of Pingyao is also called 'Turtle City' because of its turtle-like city wall. There are six gates along the wall. Four of them are symmetrically set on the east and west sides, looking like the four legs of the turtle. The other Southern Gate and Northern Gate resemble the head and tail respectively. Looking down from the top, it is exactly like a giant turtle with the crisscrossing lanes forming the patterns on its shell.The Old City Wall of Pingyao is a typical town of North China at county level based on the architectural concept and tow planning of ancient Han people. The present city walls were constructed in the 3rd year of the first Emperor Zhu Yuanzhang of Ming Dynasty (1368-1644).


No. 4: Dali Ancient City in Yunnan Province

Dali Ancient Town1.jpgDali Ancient City was founded in 1382 during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) and it has been among the top listed historical cities of China since 1982. The Ancient City of Dali, about 13 km away from Xiaguan in Dali City,is one of the 'Three Ancients' (Ancient Cities, Ancient Pagodas and Ancient Steles) of the Dali Scenic Area.With Erhai Lake to the east, and Cangshan Mountain to the west, its grand city wall, traditional Bai ethnic minority folk houses and marvelous scenery have been attracting many visitors from home and abroad.The traditional Bai Ethnic Minority folk houses give Dali Ancient City distinctive feel which is different from any other Chinese city. A typical house is characterized by ‘3 rooms and a wall screening' and ‘4 joints and 5 courtyards'. ‘3 rooms and a wall screening' means that every house has a principle room and two wing-rooms and facing the principle room stands the wall screening. 


No. 5: Tunxi Ancient City in Anhui Province

Tunxi City1.jpgAt the foot of the Mt. Huangshan, in the bend of Xin'an River, lies the beautiful mountain city called ' The Tunxi City ' The ' Tunxi Ancient Street 'can be found in this old city. The street starts in the west at Zhenhai Bridge, a stone arch bridge built during the Ming Dynasty, and ends in the east at the ' Tablet of Memorial Archways. ' Its total length is about 1.5km and the sides of the street are laid with slab stones. There are hundreds of old but well preserved rows of shops, evoking a bygone era in buildings that are simple and elegant. It is a commercial street that is only for pedestrians. The merchants from the Anhui, Zhejiang, Jiangxi, and Fujian provinces jostle each other in a crowd that resembles the picture ' Upper River during Qingming Festival '. An ancient Western-European architect once visited the old street and said that he had found ' The Eastern Ancient Rome.'


No. 6: Changting Ancient City in Fujian Province
Changting Ancient TownChangting,also known as Tingzhou or Tingchow(汀州), is a county in western Fujianprovince.Changting was originally the name of a prefecture (called Tingzhou in imperial times), established in the second year of the Republic of China - 1913. During the Chinese Civil War, this prefecture was the economic and financial centre of the Chinese Soviet Republic. Tens of thousands of people from Changting joined the Chinese Red Army but not many survived the Long March.

Alley Rewi, the New Zealand-born writer complimented Changting's landscape half a century ago, saying that the two most beautiful towns in China were Fenghuang, in Hunan province, and Changting, in Fujian province.


No.7: Jingzhou Ancient City in Hubei
Jingzhou Ancient City Wall,Hubei,China.jpgJingzhou City,also called Jiangling City in ancient times, is located in central China’s Hubei Province. It was the capital of Chu in the Eastern Zhou Dynasty (770BC–221BC) in Chinese history.

Jingzhou Ancient City Wall, one of the best preserved ones in China, is just located in Jingzhou District of this city with long history. In fact, the whole ancient city wall is composed of three parts, namely the outermost water city wall, the in-between brick city wall and the innermost earth city wall. The extant brick city wall has a circumference of around 11 kilometers and a height of 9 meters. With most of which reconstructed during Ming Dynasty (1368AD–1644AD) and Qing Dynasty (1644AD–1911AD), the ancient city wall was listed as a national key cultural relic protection unit by Chinese government in 1996.


No.8: Shangqiu Ancient City in Henan

Shangqiu Ancient City2.jpgShangqiu Ancient City is currently well-preserved, historical and  cultural city in the national-level, which is located in the Suiyang district,  the southern part of Shangqiu City,Henan Province. The  application of Chinese traditional geomancy theory to the  exceptional design of the ancient city of Shangqiu forms three main features,  that is, the eight diagrams city, the watery city and city piles up city, as  well as the trinity of inner city, city lake and city walls.The unique style of  architecture can be reputed the model of ancient  city in China.It is built in the period of Zhengde of  Ming dynasty since 500 years ago.


No.9: Xiangyang Ancient City in Hubei

xiangyang2.jpgXiangyang City, a prefecture-level city in central China's Hubei Province, is formed from two ancient cities, Xiangyang and Fancheng. Recently, the local government decided to apply for World Cultural Heritage for Xiangyang Ancient City. The ancient city has been listed among state-level major cultural relic preservation sites since 2001.Xiangyang Ancient City enjoys widespread fame far and near due to its glorious culture, long history, rich cultural relics and beautiful landscape. The old city site is located on the banks of the Han River in downtown of the city. It was first built and its basic layout was formed during the Western Han Dynasty (206 BC-24 AD).


No.10: Langzhong Ancient City in Sichuan Province

With over 2300 years history, Langzhong Ancient City is LANGZHONG5.jpgsituated in the northeast of Sichuan Basin and the middle section of Jialing River. It is not only China’s famous historic and cultural city, excellent tourist city, a town of Spring Festival culture, but also one of the four well-preserved ancient cities. 

Langzhong Ancient City resembles a large chessboard dotted with orderly houses, which is surrounded by rolling hills and flowing rivers, considered to be quite auspicious in Fengshui. The city, with a history of 2,300 years, is also the birthplace of Chinese New Year and enjoys the fame of World Millennium City. Endowed with long history, diverse culture, and rich natural scenery, the town is worthy of visit at several scenic spots.


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